The storms that caused heavy flooding across the Valley may be over. Now the toughest part of the recovery process is yet to come.
Juan Samaniego, BORSTAR Agent says, “I think it’s up there with major hurricanes and natural disasters that we’ve been deployed to.”
That is how this Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue agent compares the flooding in the valley these past days to past natural disasters across the nation.
“The loss of property, and emotional distress that people go through is just as serious as any other disaster we’ve gone to.”
Over the past days, BORSTAR agents had over 100 missions where they helped about 300 valley residents evacuate their homes due to the flooding. Although BORSTAR is a unit of Border Patrol, they want to remind residents that in emergencies like this, their only job is to rescue people, and not detain anyone.
“In these missions, we’re not operating in a law enforcement capacity… More than anything we’re operating in a first responder and rescuer capacity.” says Samaniego.
Families who have managed to evacuate their homes safely continue receiving help at shelters available to them.
Daniel Flores, evacuee, “The water inside the home was up to our waists. Everything got wet. The living room, kitchen, couches, clothes… Everything was ruined.”
The recovery process has begun for many cities. County health officials want to remind residents about the high mosquito activity that comes after a flood.
Eddie Olivarez, Chief Administrative Officer says, “Our mosquito problem is about to start and it’s going to get very complicated and very difficult. And it’s going to last for many weeks. This is not a problem that’s going to go away in one or two days. We’re talking about a problem going in three or four weeks into the future, or more if we have any more rain.”
Olivarez urges residents to take all precautionary measures to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. And to use repellent when being outdoors.
Hidalgo County Health officials are currently working on gathering information to be able to get additional help from the state and the federal government.